Covid Vaccine – 5 Things To Know About Getting It In North Carolina

Covid Vaccine – 5 Things To Know About Getting It In North Carolina

NC will now receive about 20,000 additional vaccines per week. Here’s what you need to know about getting your vaccination.
Kimberly Johnson, Patch Staff
North Carolina will now receive about 20,000 additional vaccines per week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday.
North Carolina will now receive about 20,000 additional vaccines per week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday. (Shutterstock)

CHARLOTTE, NC — More vaccines are coming to North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper office announced Wednesday that the state will receive an additional 20,000 doses per week from the federal government. That will boost the previous weekly allotment from 120,000 to around 140,000, Cooper said during a news conference.

“The sticking point right now for our state and the nation is not enough vaccine,” Cooper said. “We do have thousands of shots, but there are millions of people who need two of them.”

Now that coronavirus vaccines are available in North Carolina, residents statewide want to know how to get the vaccine into their arms. The group now eligible include adults 65 years and older, healthcare workers, and those living and working in long-term care facilities.

Because vaccination appointments are filling up fast, using the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Service’s online “Find Your Spot” vaccine location tool is helpful.Subscribe

As of Jan. 25, North Carolina has been shipped 667,350 of the state’s allocated 794,525 first doses of vaccine, and all 387,650 of the allocated second dose vaccine. As of Wednesday, nearly 99 percent of vaccine doses on hand in the state had been administered, Cooper said.

SEE ALSO: North Carolina Will See Increase In COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

Patch is studying this fast-changing subject. Here are five things we know about the coronavirus vaccination process in North Carolina:

1. When will I be eligible to receive vaccine?
While DHHS will have a free vaccine for everyone, supplies continue to be very limited throughout the state. In a bid to increase vaccine awareness, North Carolina public health officials launched a new website this week that clarifies when residents will become eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.

Vaccine group eligibility may be determined on the “Find My Vaccine Group” website through the answering of a series of questions.

Currently, the state is vaccinating those 65 and older, healthcare workers with in-person patient contact and long-term care facility staff and residents.

2. Why can’t I register for a vaccination appointment?
While it is frustrating for many, the sheer magnitude of residents seeking coronavirus vaccinations is causing certain reservation systems to crash. The process of vaccinating millions is daunting, but public health officials say that as more vaccine doses arrive, the easier it will become to get an appointment.

The best first step in locating a vaccine is to contact your local health department or hospital, according to state public health officials. “Because supplies are very limited right now, most doctors cannot provide vaccinations in their offices,” DHHS said.

The DHHS vaccine website also has a list of where vaccines may be found in each county, along with contact information.

NOTE: Vaccination appointments are released based upon the number of vaccine doses each county has available to them. If there are no appointments, officials are waiting for more vaccines.

3. What happens at a vaccination distribution site, and what do I need to bring with me?
Patience is the first thing you should bring with you. Each vaccination appointment takes between four and five minutes to accomplish. With thousands vaccinating at Point of Distribution centers in a day, the wait is often long. If you are at a drive-up clinic, be sure you have a full tank of gas, water, and snacks. Be sure to bring your PPE, masks, and remember to social distance while waiting.

After receiving your vaccine, you will be given a printed card and a follow-up email reminding you when to come back three to four weeks later for your second dose, DHHS said.

4. Should I be concerned about coronavirus variants and getting vaccinated for coronavirus? What are the side effects of the shots?
There are some vaccines like measles, that never change at all. Influenza vaccines tend to change year to year, according to WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan. The COVID-19 vaccine is believed to be well-equipped to protect those vaccinated from the variants. “A couple of changes to the virus should not make the vaccines ineffective.”

According to the CDC, the most common side effects are:

  • Pain, swelling or redness in the arm where the shot is administered
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

5. When will I be safe from coronavirus? Are the 2 doses needed?
According to the CDC, depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot is mandatory within three to four weeks in order to receive the maximum protection against coronavirus.

Once you receive your vaccination, you should receive a card that tells which vaccine you received in the first round of vaccination, whether from Pfizer or Moderna, you will be advised of the approximate date for your booster shot (second dose). At your first appointment, you will either be signed up for a secondary appointment or will be told how and when to register for your booster.

NOTE: You must have the booster for the same manufacturer of vaccine you received in the first round.

After your second booster shot, chances are, you’ll be 94.1 percent protected from coronavirus with the Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is estimated to be 95 percent effective, the CDC website states.

Marcus K. Garner, Patch staff, contributed.

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